Now THAT is the New Orleans Saints team we were expecting out of the gate.
In what was another roller-coaster of a game with plenty of ups and downs along the way, here are a couple that stood out.
Up: Alvin Kamara
Let’s get this one out of the way.
Alvin Kamara was absolutely incredible this game. He finished the afternoon with 181 yards from scrimmage and all three Saints touchdowns. His biggest run came on a 49 touchdown run to ice the game with two minutes left to go in regulation.
For as much as the Saints rushing attack has faltered through the season’s first four weeks, Kamara impressed as a runner in Week 4. With Mark Ingram set to return for Monday Night Football next week, the Saints rushing attack should only get better.
Up: Saints defense
The Saints defense took a big step forward in Week 4, sacking Eli Manning multiple times, causing and recovering two fumbles, and holding the Giants to under 20 points.
Saquon Barkley was held to under 50 rushing yards, Odell Beckham Jr had only 60 receiving yards, and, outside of Sterling Shepard, the New York Giants largely struggled on offense.
PJ Williams, filling in for the injured Patrick Robinson, played well for the Saints, and if New Orleans can expect this level of play out of their defense (I mean, did you see that tackle for a loss by Marcus Davenport?), this Saints team could really end up going on a run.
Up: Taysom Hill
For the third week in a row, Taysom Hill made the “Ups” for the Saints, and this time he provided the spark that helped the entire offense get moving. After what appeared to be a second quick, three-and-out series, Taysom Hill connected with Justin Hardee on a fake punt to extend the Saints drive.
His second pass attempt of the game was a would-be touchdown that was dropped by Alvin Kamara, Kamara’s only real blemish on the day. In addition to throwing passes, Taysom also caught a pass as a wide receiver, rushed as a halfback, ran the read-option multiple times as a quarterback, and blocked as a tight end. For the world seeing Taysom for the first time, this was as close to a “coming out party” as you can get for the Saints electrifying #7.
Down: Special Teams
The Saints struggles early in the game in the red zone and on third down almost made the list, but those issues seemed to work themselves out as the game went on. On the other hand, the Saints play on special teams almost appeared to just get worse.
The Saints brought back Brandon Tate before Sunday afternoon’s game, and he was back to return a punt for New Orleans early in the game. the punt was a low and short kick that Tate had to run forward to catch - normally, this forward momentum is helpful for a return, but Tate fumbled the ball forward, and only by the grace of the football gods, had the ball take a lucky bounce and end up back in his hands as Tate continued forward.
Then on the Giants final kickoff of the game, late in the fourth quarter, with New York down just one possession, Ted Ginn Jr was back to return the kick. The “hands” team was on the field, in anticipation of a possible onside kick, leaving Ginn as the lone Saint deep. The kickoff went Ginn’s way, and Ginn erroneously decided to field the kick at the one instead of letting it roll into the end zone. Ginn had absolutely zero blockers out in front of him, so even if he fielded the kick cleanly, would likely have been dropped well short of the twenty-five yard line. Instead, Ginn botched the catch, stumbled to pick the ball up, and then was dropped inside the five yard line.
You could see Sean Payton fuming on the sidelines, so special teams will surely get some attention before Week 5.